The idea of an app with which we can access the statistics of the new corona virus (COVID-19) in real time and whether someone in our region is infected seems to be quite good. The logistics and technology required for this are still in preparation. Unfortunately, not many know this, including the victims of the new CovidLock ransomware.
Discovered by the cyber security company DomainTools, numerous cases of this attack have been registered in Costa Rica and other countries in Latin America since mid-March. CovidLock is accurately described as an Android app that offers a suspected interactive map of the positive cases of COVID-19 around the world, including Costa Rica.
Of course, these card types are already available on the Internet and very easy to find. However, the main promise of CovidLock is to inform you of the number of live infections and whether one of the infected is close to where you live. This way, you could better protect yourself and avoid many other infections. Although of course everything is a lie.
What CovidLock actually does after installing on the victim’s smartphone is to request administrator and screen lock permissions, probably to alert you of COVID-19 cases as soon as possible. If you get these permissions, The system crashes – even after restarting – and a ransom note is displayed. Revealing the true nature of the application.
“Your phone is encrypted: You have 48 hours to pay $ 100 in Bitcoin, otherwise everything will be deleted. What will be removed? Your contacts, photos and videos, all social media accounts are leaked publicly and the phone memory is completely deleted. (…) How do I get the decryption code? You must send the USD 100 bitcoins to the address below. Click the button below to view the code. Note: Your GPS is monitored and we know your location. If you try something stupid, your phone will be erased automatically. “
DomainTools has not yet reported victim reports because rescue management has almost no funds or transactions. However, it must be taken into account that the BTC addresses are “available”: the hacker could provide a new one with each attack, making it very difficult to track down the funds.
Insight crime in turn reported that both people and businesses across Costa Rica have been attacked by this malicious app since it was released in March. The situation reached such a point that one of the National Banks had to alert the Ministry of Security and Miguel López, Deputy Prosecutor for Fraud and Cybercrime in Costa Rica, to warn citizens via radio; further prediction that these types of fraud would increase.
That’s how it actually happened. Countries such as Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia continue to suffer from corona virus fraud. And those with the greatest risk of becoming targets for hackers are those with the largest economies: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina.
Charity Wright, analyst at IntSights Cyber Intelligence, a global cyber threat company, said:
“They have the money, large population, and accelerated adoption of new technologies, but at the same time, these countries are lagging behind the rest of the world in implementing cyber defense mechanisms, regulatory and compliance policies in general.”
Although Costa Rica is not on this list, it does not seem to protect it from this type of cyberattack. Cryptocurrencies are not too common in the country, but it can be said that their introduction is slow and secure. The trade with LocalBitcoins is active with various offers. CoinMap shows at least 34 companies that accept cryptocurrencies, and according to CoinATMRadar, there are at least two cryptocurrency ATMs in San José, the capital.
In these uncertain times, you need to be very vigilant about offers, emails, or software that make promises too good to be true. Fraudsters and hackers continue to lurk and will not hesitate to continue to use the pandemic for their own benefit, both outside and inside Latin America.
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